Tito Vilanova returned the Barcelona bench and was treated to a comprehensive victory by his side over Espanyol
It wasn't a surprise that Barcelona scored the first goal. The surprise came in that it took all of nine minutes. Xavi Hernandez ultimately put the ball in the net but it was a wonderful team goal that involved five players as Barca quickly moved the ball from the left side to the right before Xavi's close ranger finish. Dani Alves started the play, moving the ball back towards the center of the pitch where it ended up on Lionel Messi's foot. Messi placed a great pass to Andrés Iniesta on the right who put the ball right on Xavi's foot for the finish.
Barca added their second goal in the 15th minute with some more teamwork. Messi found Cesc Fábregas on the right side of the Espanyol box, who proceeded to dance around the defense before centering to Messi. The Argentine striker put the ball on frame and it was toe poked by Pedro, changing the direction of the ball more than enough to leave Francisco Casilla frozen.
Sergio García had a chance to pull one back for Espanyol in the 23rd minute on a rare trip in their attacking third. Ultimately he wasted the opportunity, sending his shot well over the crossbar.
Barca struck again in 27th minute when Sergio Busquets and Pedro had a moment of telekinetic brilliance. Busquets send a beatifully placed through ball to Pedro who beat the Espanyol back line and chipped the ball past Casilla.
Two minutes later it was time for a fourth goal. Fábregas was taken down by Casilla in the box on a break and the referee pointed to the spot for penalty. Messi, who scored 91 goals in 2012, scored his first of 2013 sending Casilla's diving to the right before tucking the ball in the net to the left.
Espanyol can take some small amount of solace in the fact they played better in the second half. Of course, Barcelona did put the ball in the back of the net twice, but they were ruled offside on both occasions. Pedro was the non-goal scorer in both situations and while the second time was the right call, he was well onside on the first disallowed goal.
Of course, when you're winning 4-0, it's not the end of the world.